What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

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markiteight
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What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by markiteight »

Split from the LINN 50TH ANNIVERSARY topic. There was no clean way to split the discussion so I apologize for any discrepancies in continuity in the two topics.

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For a given frequency and amplitude a specific volume of air has to be displaced to create the desired sound, regardless of what's producing that sound. So a relatively big woofer with lots of surface area like the 15" unit found in the JBL can displace a lot of air without moving very much, whereas a smaller woofer has to flap about madly to displace the same volume of air. It's not so much that the amp is failing to control the woofer, it just has to drive the voice coil harder to make it move further in order to achieve the desired output.

That's one of the reasons why the JBL is more efficient than the majority of small woofer'd consumer speakers. It also might be one reason why the JBLs are so musically good. The further a voice coil travels away from its center rest position the less liner the magnetic field becomes, increasing distortion. Large excursions also impart much higher forces on all the moving parts of the woofer, requiring all those parts be made from stiffer and lighter material to withstand those forces without breakup, flex, or distortion. Hence the trend toward exotic materials for the cone/diaphragm and questionable musical performance.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by matss »

lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-24 09:35Seas drivers are good. But they wouldn't be my personal choice. With markiteight having already mentioned one very valid reason why: the lack of woofer size.
Two 10" Seas L26 will pump more air than a state of the art 15" woofer. Capacity is a combination of size and excursion capability. Yes, you will need more than four 360 drivers to equal the same 15" woofer.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by andy2 »

Let’s take a look at that statement:

The LS26ROY has an sd of 339cm^ and a very good pro driver like f.i. the BMS 15N850v2 has an sd of 845cm^. So, two of these 10” still have less area than one 15”. Also that massive rollover on the Seas will reduce sd with excursion.

The linear X-max of the Seas is 28mm and the BMS is at 24mm.

The calculated motor strength of the Seas is 11,5 Tesla and the BMS is 25,2 Tesla. That’s >2 times motor strength.

The max continuous power handling of the Seas is 250W and the BMS is rated at 1200W.

Because of the difference in efficiency you need 50W from the amp to the Seas to produce the same sound power as the BMS does with 4W.

Please insert inappropriate car comparison here : [……………………………………….]

a2
Last edited by andy2 on 2023-04-24 19:14, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

Hmm, a 3 litre, 6 cylinder merc with Burmester ICE trumps a two litre, 4 cylinder Jag with Meridian ICE, every time. Source first rules.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by andy2 »

I should add that the Seas has a lower stated Fs (lowest frequency) than the BMS. But it’s down by -25dB at that frequency, meaning you need MASSIVE power to go low. No wonder those speakers where flapping.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

It’s worth pointing out that absolutely not one of the T&S parameters have even the slightest influence on a speakers ability to play a tune.

And while I’m at it, frequency response, THD, waterfalls and any other measurement you care to mention, have absolutely no relationship with a speakers tune playing ability.

And don’t get me started on “audiophile” crossover components!
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by lindsayt »

The Linn website says that the 360's have twin 9" woofers per channel.

My quick google research indicates that Seas L26's are 10".

markiteight had it spot on when he talked about big woofers twitching vs smaller woofers thrashing in and out.

andy2 makes a great point about the motor strength. Which could be expanded to the moving mass for the electromotive force on offer. Higher efficiency drivers tend to have less moving mass for the electromotive force on offer. The car metaphor applies. Although I think a better one would be a door, with a mouse pushing a Fort Knox vault door open and closed vs an Olympic shot putter pushing a doped paper door open and closed.

And there are other woofer options apart from 15". Especially in speakers aiming for world class by sound quality. Really good 18", 21" and 24" woofers are available.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by andy2 »

@spannko We were talking about the capacity pump air below 80Hz, no?
The law of physics do apply,
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-24 19:35 The Linn website says that the 360's have twin 9" woofers per channel.

My quick google research indicates that Seas L26's are 10".

markiteight had it spot on when he talked about big woofers twitching vs smaller woofers thrashing in and out.

andy2 makes a great point about the motor strength. Which could be expanded to the moving mass for the electromotive force on offer. Higher efficiency drivers tend to have less moving mass for the electromotive force on offer. The car metaphor applies. Although I think a better one would be a door, with a mouse pushing a Fort Knox vault door open and closed vs an Olympic shot putter pushing a doped paper door open and closed.

And there are other woofer options apart from 15". Especially in speakers aiming for world class by sound quality. Really good 18", 21" and 24" woofers are available.
By what measure do you think a large woofer outperforms a smaller woofer?
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by andy2 »

What data do you think you’re required to push into Exakt Design spannko?
You seriously think Phil had free reign on the form factor and a veto over the marketing dept?
Big woofers = Big boxes.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by matthias »

i am sure the standards for the designers have been to make the 360 disappear sonically and visually from the listening room. That means as small as possible for full frequency output and long throw woofers.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

andy2 wrote: 2023-04-24 19:46 @spannko We were talking about the capacity pump air below 80Hz, no?
The law of physics do apply,
I understand that, but how does capacity to pump air relate to a speakers ability to play music in a tuneful manner? What you’re describing is more related to hifi fetishism than tuneful music reproduction.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

andy2 wrote: 2023-04-24 20:13 What data do you think you’re required to push into Exakt Design spannko?
You seriously think Phil had free reign on the form factor and a veto over the marketing dept?
Big woofers = Big boxes.
Sorry andy2, I don’t understand what you’re trying to say re: pushing data into Exakt design.

Are you saying that Linn’s marketing dept designed the 360?

I don’t agree that big woofers = big boxes. The size of the enclosure doesn’t vary linearly with driver diameter, and the volume of an enclosure is dependent upon everything but driver diameter.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by andy2 »

Jeez, you have to enter the T/S parameters into Exakt Design, they are used by the algorithm.

A 15" woofer is simply bigger than a 10" and as such would require a larger frontal area of the cabinet, wouldn't you agree? And the marketing dept has always had a great say at Linn, they are mid size business with a factory and staff to feed.

I'm off to my system now so won't be typing until tomorrow - or maybe ask Fredrik directly?

-a
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

Exakt Design? What’s that got to with driver diameter and tuneful music reproduction? Double Jeez! Come on Baggy, get with the beat!

Does a 15” driver require a larger frontal area than a 10” driver? Not necessarily. It obviously needs a wider baffle, but the baffle area is related to Vb, which as has been said, is unrelated to driver diameter. Triple Jeez!

Most importantly, none of this has any relationship to tuneful music reproduction.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by lindsayt »

Spannko wrote: 2023-04-24 19:56
By what measure do you think a large woofer outperforms a smaller woofer?
This has already been answered in page 2 of this thread by markiteight.

As an expansion on his post, think about bass drums and how they produce the sound that underpins the majority of pop and rock tracks. How big is a bass drum? What sort of woofers are most similar to bass drums? How far does a bass drum head move when the pedal hammer hits it? It's no surprise to me that the speakers that sound best at recreating bass drums tend to be the ones with the woofers that are most similar to bass drums.

One or two small to medium sized woofers in a small to medium sized ported cabinet are not like a bass drum.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-24 22:32
Spannko wrote: 2023-04-24 19:56
By what measure do you think a large woofer outperforms a smaller woofer?
This has already been answered in page 2 of this thread by markiteight.

As an expansion on his post, think about bass drums and how they produce the sound that underpins the majority of pop and rock tracks. How big is a bass drum? What sort of woofers are most similar to bass drums? How far does a bass drum head move when the pedal hammer hits it? It's no surprise to me that the speakers that sound best at recreating bass drums tend to be the ones with the woofers that are most similar to bass drums.

One or two small to medium sized woofers in a small to medium sized ported cabinet are not like a bass drum.
That’s all well and good if all you listen to is the sound of bass drums. But that same driver has to reproduce all frequencies up to (and beyond) the x/o frequency. How tuneful is the driver throughout its operating range? This is much more important than reproducing the scale of an instrument.

Tbh, I’m not really sure that comparing a drive unit to the instrument it’s reproducing is that helpful. How similar is a 15” unit to an oboe, or a soprano singer? For that matter, how similar is a 6” bass unit to either of these?
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by lindsayt »

Spannko wrote: 2023-04-24 23:07
That’s all well and good if all you listen to is the sound of bass drums. But that same driver has to reproduce all frequencies up to (and beyond) the x/o frequency. How tuneful is the driver throughout its operating range? This is much more important than reproducing the scale of an instrument.

Tbh, I’m not really sure that comparing a drive unit to the instrument it’s reproducing is that helpful. How similar is a 15” unit to an oboe, or a soprano singer? For that matter, how similar is a 6” bass unit to either of these?
There is a large element of empiricism in what I've been saying. Auditioning a wide variety of speakers, hearing which have sounded better and then speculating as to the reasons why they sound better. With me having a mechanical engineering background and some understanding of a variety of mechanical engineering principles.

A dream team of speaker drivers for me would be an 18" (or 21" or 24" or 30") and a 12" (or 15" or 10" or 8") woofer. With the larger woofer handing over to the smaller in somewhere in the region of 150 to 250 hz. The smaller woofer would then handle things from there up to 800 to 1200hz. With a midrange driver taking over from there up to 3000 to 5000hz.

By the way, high efficiency 12" drivers are more similar to tom drums than low efficiency 6". Guess which in my experience have been better at reproducing tom drums?

The downside to this sort of speaker is the 3 crossover regions. Making it important to get the crossover design right and ideally for the drivers to blend well sonically into each other.

With music there are some instruments that are easier to reproduce than others. Saxohones are easy because what they produce is rather sine wavey. Grand Pianos are difficult because they are more transient based, combined with having rich undertones. Bass drums are difficult because the fundamental frequencies are low and they are transient based, as well as them often sharing the same frequencies as the bass guitar. An oboe is one of the easier instruments to reproduce.

For vocals, what drivers are most akin to the human throat and mouth? Something with low moving mass and high electromotive force? Something that has a throat and a mouth, such as constant directivity horn?
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

Thanks for your explanation lindsayt. You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into your project, based on years of listening experience. Have you taken the next step and started experimenting?
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by lindsayt »

Spannko wrote: 2023-04-25 09:37 Thanks for your explanation lindsayt. You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into your project, based on years of listening experience. Have you taken the next step and started experimenting?
Yes I have started experimenting. Although I would stress that I'm at the starting stage in terms of producing speakers to listen to.

The thing with Linn's choice of drivers for the 360 is that if they were aiming at speakers that are a good compromise between looking good and sounding good, then the Seas drivers make a lot of sense. But in that case, why not aim to produce speakers that retail at £3000 to £15,000? In that market segment a few compromises in the sound, here and there are forgiveable.

When you start looking at retail prices of £55,000 it becomes less easy to forgive sonic compromises. Especially from a company that positions itself as producing the best of the best.

Or how about Linn producing an audiophile range of speakers? For customers that are willing to sacrifice fashionable looks and narrow front baffle width in order to gain the most musically satisfying speakers?
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Tendaberry »

lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-25 11:03 The thing with Linn's choice of drivers for the 360 is that if they were aiming at speakers that are a good compromise between looking good and sounding good, then the Seas drivers make a lot of sense. But in that case, why not aim to produce speakers that retail at £3000 to £15,000? In that market segment a few compromises in the sound, here and there are forgiveable.
So, you've heard the 360's then, since you are implying that Linn's choice of drivers compromise the sound?
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by lindsayt »

Tendaberry wrote: 2023-04-25 11:50 So, you've heard the 360's then, since you are implying that Linn's choice of drivers compromise the sound?
So you've heard high efficiency speakers with 18" or larger woofers on which you would base an assessment as to whether Linn's choice of drivers is likely to compromise the sound?
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Charlie1 »

This seems like a slightly strange discussion to me. I get that bigger drive units are more efficient. And obviously smaller drive units enable narrower width speaker enclosures. But I've never read of any direct relationship between musicality and drive unit size.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Defender »

I think this became a more theoretical discussion which is good for sharing some experiences but is maybe the not so perfect approach in a forum where we speak about musicality … especially when non of us has heard the 360‘s live.
I might take the chance to hear them at the High End in Munich to have a better opinion of what they can do.
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Re: What Makes a Loudspeaker Musical?

Post by Spannko »

lindsayt wrote: 2023-04-25 11:03
Spannko wrote: 2023-04-25 09:37 Thanks for your explanation lindsayt. You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into your project, based on years of listening experience. Have you taken the next step and started experimenting?
Yes I have started experimenting. Although I would stress that I'm at the starting stage in terms of producing speakers to listen to.
Do you mind me asking how far you’ve got with your experimenting?
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